10 most popular universities for foreign students

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(MoneyWatch) The number of international students attending U.S. colleges and universities has reached a record high.

During the 2011-2012 school year, more than 764,000 foreign students were studying in the states. That represents a 5.7 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Institute of International Education's latest annual survey, which is produced with support from the U.S. Department of State.

While the number of overseas students in the U.S. has been growing steadily since the mid 2000s, foreigners still represent a tiny fraction, at 3.7 percent, of the nearly 21 million students attending college in the U.S..

Most popular states for foreign students

California remains the biggest draw for foreigners, with roughly 103,000 students studying there. Here are the 10 most popular states for international students:

1. California (102,789)
2. New York (82,436)
3. Texas (61,511)
4. Massachusetts (41,258)
5. Illinois (35,920)
6. Pennsylvania (33,398)
7. Florida (32,567)
8. Ohio (26,427)
9. Michigan (25,551)
10. Indiana (22,194)

Most popular universities for foreign students

The most popular U.S. universities for foreign students are located on the coasts and in the Midwest. Here are the top 10 destinations for international students, along with their enrollment numbers:

1. University of Southern California (9,269)
2. University of Illinois (8,997)
3. New York University (8,660)
4. Purdue University (8,563)
5. Columbia University (8,024)
6. UCLA (6,703)
7. Northeastern University (6,486)
8. University of Michigan (6,382)
9. Michigan State University (6,209)
10. Ohio State University (6,142)

10 countries exporting the most students

China continues to send the greatest number of students to the U.S. In fact, it's not even close. During the last school year, some 194,000 Chinese students attended American schools. Coming in second was India, with 100,270 students.

Here are the 10 countries sending the most students to the U.S.:

1. China (194,029)
2. India (103,895)
3. South Korea (73,351)
4. Saudi Arabia (22,704)
5. Canada (27,546)
6. Taiwan (24,818)
7. Japan (21,290)
8. Vietnam (14,888)
9. Mexico (13,713))
10. Turkey (12,184)

I suspect that the number of foreign students studying in the U.S. will continue to climb since colleges and universities covet them. Why? Because many of them pay full price to attend our schools.

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